Posts Tagged ‘Thought Forms’


Esben and the Witch-Photo by Angel Ceballos, courtesy of Matador Records (


I distinctly remember my first Dark Wave moment. High school, of course (isn’t everyone’s first dark music moment in the throes of adolescence????). I was sitting on the sidelines, after playing my varsity soccer game, watching the  junior varsity play their game because we all took the same bus to and from. My prized possession at that time was my portable cassette player. The ability to put on headphones and essentially create a soundtrack to the surrounding real life was simply mind-blowing for me at that time. And at that very moment, I was listening to The Cure’s relentlessly dark and depressing album, Pornography. Something about the grey skies of a late winter afternoon, combined with a post-game adrenalin comedown and accented by teenage-y angst and depression perfectly matched up with the song like “A Strange Day”.


At the time, I didn’t really think I was listening to Dark Wave, or Goth…I lumped a lot of the stuff I was listening to that wasn’t out-and-out New Wave or Punk into the Alternative  umbrella. I was defiantly against other specific genres—Top 40 Pop, Metal (Glam Metal actually, though I didn’t quite know that at the time), Country. And it seemed really, really important at that time to define myself by what types of music I listened to, and the types of music I chose not listen to.

Fast forward to now. Music genres aren’t so easily defined anymore, yet, in the collective effort to further define a sound, so many different sub-genres and sub-categories of genres have been created, that my head spins when I try to have a conversation with anyone else about it. Yet, these still provide valuable signposts for trips down the rabbit hole…because it still helps to define the nature of a sound, even if it is slightly ridiculous just how granular these labels have become.

So, back to Dark Wave…and Goth…and Nightmare Pop, and Dark Ambient…and Folk…and Gothic Pop…and, well, the list goes on that can be used described one of the artists I’ve gotten into over the past three years, Esben and The Witch. My initial label was New Goth, but really that was my own feeble attempt to categorize a sound that was much more complex in its underlying influences. It was the discovery of this mesmerizing, and disturbing, video for the track, “Marching Song” off of their first full length album, Violet Cries that forever bonded me to this band.



They’ve since released a second, evolutionary album, entitled, Wash The Sins Not Only The Face, that seemed to further underscore that the band isn’t so easily defined by my “New Goth” label. In fact there were so many different influences underneath their sound that I was slightly ashamed that I tried to pigeonhole them under one banner.


Now, with the promise of a Steve Albini-produced new full length release coming out summer 2014, Esben and the Witch have teamed up with another band, Thought Forms, to release a split 12″ on Invada Records, due out April 7, 2014 and featuring my new favorite, a scintillating track titled “No Dog”.